- Kuwait Times Extra
Kuwait’s new labor law, number 6 of 2010, had many grey areas to begin with and, as the experience over the years showed, now has several areas that should be a cause for alarm. Historically, the law came into effect in 1964, and has been amended many times since then to address the menace of visa trade that some misleading companies or employers indulge in, and to make it more user friendly.
The way the law has been applied since 2010 till date has not made any real change nor has brought any major relief to the employees. Although the documentation processing work has been computerized, yet protecting the rights of the employees remains difficult. In most cases, the grievance redress mechanism remains ineffective and takes a long time. As they say, justice delayed is surely justice denied.
The establishment of a new labor authority to overcome many chronic problems related to this issue, including the tactic adopted by some employers to declare an employee as ‘absconding’ and then use it as a weapon against him, will help in better implementation of the law. Similarly, if the government chooses to control all sponsorship related matters, instead of leaving it to some greedy sponsors, and launches a fight against human trafficking, it would help greatly.
The implementation of the law needs serious monitoring and a follow up. Efforts to rebalance the society demographically, since growing numbers of Kuwait are rendering the Kuwaitis to become a minority in their own country, need to focus on tough punishments to irresponsible employers who are causing such a mess in the society. Their commercial registrations must be cancelled and they should be made to pay compensation to their innocent victims.
The new government must not allow the old cycle of things to continue. We need more transparency and real measures aimed at combating corruption in the Social Affairs and Labor Ministry in order to usher in some real change and provide real remedies to the people. Furthermore, I do not find it inadvisable to seek more cooperation and assistance from International Labor Organizations to set our house in order.
By Labeed Abdal
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